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Design the Site and It's Pages

With an understanding of your audience and purpose, design the site so that it is easy to use and includes the elements your users will need.

A shallow site design
A deeper site design
A typical page design
Basic design principles

A shallow site design
With only two levels, a shallow site design helps readers find information even if they don't know the site well and are inexperienced using the Web.

Example
Some readers may be overwhelmed when they see all the links on this home page. For this reason, a shallow design works well for a site with relatively few pages.


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A deeper site design
A deeper design lets you create a more complex hierarchy of information.


Example
Some readers might not realize that the lower pages exist because they are not linked to the home page. This design is best if the site is complex and contains a large number of pages.


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A typical page design
You will also need to plan a design for a typical page. In the simple design below, the banner head and the navigation buttons will appear on all pages, helping readers understand where they are and how to get around on the site. The other elements differ from one page to the next.


Example


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Basic design principles
Five basic design principles will help you create an effective design:
  • Use contrast. Make your text stand out against the background. Use graphics or colors to signal important information.
  • Use spatial relationships to present information clearly. Items next to each other appear related to each other. Items in a bulleted list are also related to each other.
  • Establish patterns. The navigation links should appear in the same place on each page, and they should have the same design. Footers should also be the same from page to page.
  • Use moderation. Using too many colors will confuse readers. Filling every inch of the screen with information will overwhelm readers. Including meaningless graphics or sounds will annoy readers.
  • Present a balanced look. Elements on a page should be placed so that the page appears visually balanced, not tilting precariously in one direction.

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